Thursday, October 13, 2011

Equality is Not Sameness

“Put any woman in an area run mostly by men and rumors will fly. Unless you make it very clear that you are off limits, there is also a certain competitiveness that sets in. Some men are either trying to run you out of town or get into your pants. They don't seem to know any other way to deal with a woman. If you're not a sexual object, you're a threat.” -- Laurell K. Hamilton


As a female, I encounter this sort of bigotry daily. A few examples: my dress code for work requires make-up, hosiery and high heels for all females. No exceptions. That seems a bit ridiculous to me. If I want to wear flat, comfortable shoes for my 6 hour shift, and no make-up, I think I should be entitled.

Not to mention that I was hired for the position on my "beautiful smile" alone and not any sort of viable credentials. As a woman, you are an object first, and a person second. I appreciate being found attactive, I do. But I have a mind and a heart that goes along with the physical body I possess, and that often gets forgotten by the wayside.

I think what I would like to see happen is this: everyone, without exception is equal. Sameness does not necessitate equality. Women and men should be able to dress however they want: skirts, blouses, make-up, polished nails, suits, bras, thongs, boxers, whatever. It should be a free for all. If you have a uniform, it should that: uniform. No differentiation between men and women. I don't think we should do away with all the make-up and traditionally "girly" stuff. We just shouldn't be legally authorized to require it, or expect it from our women like it's an inherent part of who they are. People should be individuals. Multi-faceted and varied. There are too many ways to shove beautiful unique people into a tiny box of social expectations. And that's limiting. If a woman wants to dress in thigh-high lace stocking and 6 inch spike heels with a feather boa thrown on over a vinyl bustier, more power to her. If a man wants to do the same, more power to him. If either sex wants to wear the corporate America "power suit", that should be their prerogative. All I'm saying is that we should be free to be who we want to be. We shouldn't be expected or required to be something else, based on gender norms. However, if we eliminate options, we are inducing sameness, not equality. Hence, the choice should always be there.

The other thing I would like to mention is the idea behind the Slut Walk concept. If a woman is sexual, on purpose or not - she deserves the same respect as if she was not. If I wear a short skirt and a push up bra, that is not a waiver of my human rights. It's just an outfit. I deserve the same respect regardless of my physique and style of dress. That holds true for everyone else, too. I hate seeing people treated a certain way because of tattoos, speaking style, race, social economic background, regional identity, or anything else.

People are different and that's beautiful! We are a melting pot, people. Let's revel in that, not be afraid of it or try to assimilate it.

Diversity is, after all, the spice of life.


"People say I'm a feminist, but in truth, I am an equalist. I believe that everyone, male and female, should be free to be whom and what they are. Not fit into some tight cultural box. The idea that men should be okay with sexual contact, because they like it, and women don't like it, so they should be protected from it... is unfair and untrue." -- Laurell K. Hamilton